Yesterday I posted that Cliff Floyd had signed a deal with the Cubs, and after I posted it, I realized that Cliff Floyd is my favorite Mets Left Fielder of all time, and that I never took part in posting my all time favorite players at each position, while many of my fellow bloggers were. So, here it is, my favorite Mets at each position. I was born in 1975, so I'm too young for Seaver or Koosman or even TugMcGraw to make my list, but here it is, for what it's worth:
LF Cliff Floyd - As Matt Cerrone wrote today, Cliff had just one truly solid year for the Mets, and struck out a ton, but his attitude and charisma embodied everything we love about the Mets. Kevin McReynolds may be the most successful Mets leftfielder of the last twenty years, but he can't match Cliff Floyd's personality. If I were old enough to see Cleon Jones, I might have picked him.
RF Darryl Strawberry - Strawberry was the first player to inspire me to show up at Shea with a sign. I don't remember how old I was, but I recall it was a small sign encouraging him to hit a home run. Darryl doesn't have much competition for favorite Mets right fielder, though I loved watching Derek Bell the first half of 2000. Sheesh.
CF Mookie Wilson - The Mets have had some great center fielders who I loved to watch, Lenny Dykstra, Carlos Beltran, even Melvin Mora and Lance Johnson, but there really is no contest here. Mookie didn't put up the gaudiest stats, but he was electric to watch, had a terrific personality, and such an awesome name that I named my dog after the guy. Remember this is a "favorite" list, not a "best of" list, although it should be noted Mookie holds the position for most games played in center for the Mets. So, that's saying something. Carlos Beltran has the potential to become the "greatest" center fielder of all time, but he'll never be as popular as Mookie. Just think, Mookie's legacy is Game 6, a game that needs no further identification, while to this point, Beltran's Mets legacy is... well, let's not write about that here. By the way, another Mets centerfielder of note is Darryl Boston, who greatly resembled the police sketch artist's drawing of the Zodiac Killer.
3B Howard Johnson - When I was in junior high, we had to take a Home Economics class where we learned stuff like cooking and sewing. I made a pillow shaped like a baseball with the word "HoJo" on it. I also got my only detention sentence of my junior high tenure during this class for starting a marshmallow fight while learning to make Rice Krispy treats. Robin Ventura was a great, popular Mets 3rd baseman, and David Wright is well on his way to be the most popular Met of all time, but HoJo is the man.
2B Edgardo Alfonzo - Can you believe Fonzie beats out Matsui for this spot? Fonzie is one of my favorite Mets of all time. A team-first player, he moved around the infield to play third, short, and second, depending on the Mets needs at the time. All the moving around probably cost him a gold glove and some fame, but he never complained. Derek Jeter called Alfonzo the star of the team, despite all the accolades given to Mike Piazza. Tom Seaver called him the best player in baseball at the #2 position in the batting order. He kind of fell off a cliff when he signed with the Giants, but he was a great Met for his eight years in New York. By the way, Jose Vizcaino gets an honorable mention, despite his postseason heroics against the Mets, for the sole reason that one time he threw a ball into the stands that I caught.
C Mike Piazza - Is there a team with a better legacy behind the plate than the Mets? Perhaps, but Gary Carter, Todd Hundley and Mike Piazza is quite a trio of backstops for one team in a twenty year span. Mike Piazza gets the nod here over Carter for me just because of the sheer number of heroics. He was a classy guy, getting far too much abuse over not moving to first base soon enough or not beating up Roger Clemens, and I plan on heading to Cooperstown the day he's inducted.
SS Jose Reyes - Have the Mets ever had a more electric player than Jose Reyes? With a resume just four years long, including time spent at second base, he's already 5th on the all time list of games played at Shortstop for the Mets. He's already got a chant, "Jose! Jose Jose Jose!," a cycle on his resume, a boatload of triples, and a hell of an arm. This guy is a star, and way more fun to watch than anyone I can think of.
1B Keith Hernandez - Mex should probably have his number retired by the Mets. He defined "clutch" and he was the on and off field leader of the 1986 Mets. Many people have called him one of the best fielders at first they've ever seen. I love listening to him as a broadcaster too. Despite all the accolades, and appearing on Seinfeld, perhaps my favorite TV show of all time, Carlos Delgado has a chance to supplant Keith at this spot, if he sticks around long enough.
Utility: Carlos Baerga - I have to give Carlos a mention here. Maybe it was just because he has a funny name, or maybe it was his performances against the Yankees in the regular season Subway Series, but Baerga was a favorite of mine during his Mets tenure. When I look at his stats, I wonder if maybe I just loved him ironically? I don't know. When my friend dragged me to a WWE event at Madison Square Garden, though, I brought along a "Hogan Fears Baerga" sign.
SP: ????? - Doc Gooden was my favorite Met during my younger years, even though he broke my heart several times as I grew older. He even threw a no-hitter for the Yankees, which probably should have put him on the banned list. But I admit I have a special spot for Dwight. Tom Seaver's autographed photo hangs in my office, but I have no memories of him playing. I did see Seaver get inducted into the Hall Of Fame, so that counts for something. Dave Mlicki beat the Yankees in the first regular season game they ever played against each other, so Mlicki will always have a spot in my personal Mets history book. Bobby Jones had that game against the Giants in the 2000 NLCS. Al Leiter left his heart out on the field, but he wrecked his Mets legacy by admitting he couldn't stay motivated and especially for joining the "evil empire" at the end of his career. Mike Hampton was great in 2000 but he also wrecked his legacy by trying to tell us he would send his kids to public school. Pedro Martinez is the most exciting pitcher the Mets have had since Dwight Gooden, but he hasn't been successful enough yet to call him my favorite. So, a team with an amazing pitching heritage has no one favorite for me. My favorite all time staff will stand at Seaver, Gooden, Martinez, Leiter and Mlicki until further notice.
Closer: Randy Meyers - I was so angry when Randy K was traded. I had a cool poster in my room of Meyers wearing a Mets jersey, camo pants, baseballs as grenades, and other details I'm forgetting. This guy was cool. Even though he threw Gregg Jefferies under the bus, and had too much success for the Reds, and I probably wouldn't like him if I knew him personally, he was the only closer the Mets have ever had that I never vehemently hated at any time. Being a closer in New York is tough, but Meyers was a success. John Franco's career should be admired, even though he couldn't stand him at teh time Armando Benitez showed us how tough Franco was. Billy Wagner needs to be here longer before he can grab this spot. I know he lies awake at night hoping to be named my favorite Mets closer.
Setup: Turk Wendell - What a character. Wearing animal teeth around his neck and slamming the rosin bag down - a more popular middle reliever the Mets will never have.
Manager: Bobby Valentine: We share an initial, I met him twice, and I think he's a genius. I know he is hated by many, which only makes me like him more. Jon Heyman has a man crush on him too, so no matter how many stupid articles he writes, I can't ever get mad at him. I was even Bobby V one year for Halloween. Can you imagine me trying that down here in Greensboro? Valentine probably deserved to be fired when he was axed, but so did Steve Phillips. I like Willie Ball, but Bobby Valentine is perhaps the only ex-Met I could truly forgive if he ever took a job with the Yankees. I just pray that never happens!